I have been doing a few colour tests of enamels that are new to me. This one is called Forsythia and is manufactured by Milton Bridge Ceramic Colours Ltd but will be available from Vitrum Signum. More information on the Guild of Enamellers website
As part of my programme for 2014 I am going to be teaching the New Mokume Gane techniques using Art Clay Silver and Art Clay Copper. I am at present the only instructor in the UK who has taken this course devised by Aida Corporation in Japan so this is a unique opportunity to learn some of these fabulous techniques. Only those with the full Art Clay diploma will be eligible to apply for certification but I am happy to teach projects and familiarisation courses for those who would like to begin their journey. I also teach the art clay diploma courses by arrangement so please use the comment form if you would be interested in doing any of these. More details about the New Mokume Gane course can be found on my website
I really enjoy this time of year. Not only can I look forward to Christmas but the busy period is behind me, any galleries I supply need their new stock around mid-October. The garden and the moorland around my studio still have quite a lot of vivid autumn colour at the moment and my favourite Japanese flowering cherry is coming into flower, although it’s only just dropped this year’s leaves. It has done this some previous years and I love that it flowers over such an extended period.
I have spent some time last week emptying my display cabinets, partly because I was having a popup shop in Whitby last Thursday evening. It gave me the opportunity to review my work and make a few decisions about directions for next year.
I have reorganised my display so that all the plant based designs are now together. These include some pieces of crochet in wire, some cloisonné enamels and some of the pieces pierced from silver sheet inspired by my year as artist in residence at Whitby Museum.
These two pendants are all that remain of a collection of floral cloisonné enamels I made many years ago and I intend to do more of this in 2014, including teaching cloisonné enamelling techniques on a regular basis throughout the year. I am looking forward to building up a new collection before the autumn in time for an exhibition by members of the Guild of Enamellers at the Pannett Art Gallery next October.
Enamelling has been my passion for many years and I haven’t quite got over being awarded honorary membership of the Guild at the conference last April, which I think must have been one of the highlights of 2013 for me.
Here I am being presented with my certificate by the then Chair Jane Ball. I have also had three rings included in the ‘Heart of the Heat’ exhibition of enamelling in Birmingham and two enamelled beads selected for the book 1000 Beads due to be published next May by Lark Books (one of which will be on the cover). The emphasis of classes for 2014 will be very much on enamelling including enamelling on copper; enamelling on silver and on art clay silver and enamelling ‘in the round’ or onto curved surfaces.
I have been having a big tidy up in my studio, emptied all the display cabinets and gave everything a thorough clean. I have redisplayed some of my work and now have a whole cabinet and plant and flower inspired jewellery. These are two pieces, the first made from sterling silver sheet was inspired by Victorian pressed plants in Whitby museum and the other is crocheted in wire and is a much earlier piece of textile related jewellery.
I am in the process of planning my teaching schedule for 2014 and it will include plenty of opportunities to learn to enamel, both on silver and copper, as well as classes in the New Mokume Gane techniques – including the four day certification course developed by Aida Corporation, the manufacturers of Art Clay products. If you would be interested in taking a class then just use the comments box to contact me (I won’t publish your details). I look forward to seeing some of you in the new year!
21st & 22nd September 2013 Enamel painting with Tilly Wilkinson
Learn this traditional technique of enamel painting with Tilly Wlkinson. A former Chair of the Guild of Enamellers and skilled artist and teacher Tilly will introduce you to this beautiful and delicate process, creating detailed and many layered small works of art.
During this 2 day class you will learn how to create your own miniature piece of enamel painting. We will cover how to press form and prepare a suitable base from copper shim, how to apply a suitable enamel layer on which to paint and how to fire it. In addition we will look at techniques for transferring your chosen design onto the fired enamel surface prior to painting. Using finely ground enamel pigments you will be shown how to prepare them for your palette and how to apply them to your prepared base.
Apply now using the contact form (limited places available)
Enamel painting is suitable for representing a range of imagery from representational portraits to abstract designs. This class would be most suitable for those who already have a reasonable level of ability in either oil or watercolour painting and some enamelling experience.
It is £325 for the two days, including some basic materials – some extras can be purchased in class.
Overgrown Garden Vessels with Lesley Messam
7th and 8th September 2013,
£385 per person (including materials)
Lesley Messam is an inventive and highly skilled artist and jeweller. She has reached Level 4 in the Metal Clay Masters Registry, only the second person in the world to achieve this. She is constantly experimenting and exploring techniques in construction and is an experienced and generous teacher.
I am delighted that she has agreed to teach here in North Yorkshire and to share her techniques for creating a small vessel with a threaded closure. In this workshop you will learn how to use PMC Sterling* silver clay to construct a very beautiful hollow formed vessel with a clever screw threaded lid, embellished with a cabochon of glass or stone, set after firing.
Sterling silver does have some advantages over fine silver, its additional strength is great for pendants on long chains that could be accidentally knocked and also for rings where durability is important.
Lesley will teach us how to make a screw thread in various sizes at minimal cost. Her method does not use gadgets or kits; works every time; is cheap and works to make the thread in many different sizes.
She will also show you how to add texture your vessel without the use of commercial texture sheets so that you can add embellishments of your own unique design or, if you would prefer to make little roses she will be happy to show you how.
*Art clay silver is an option if you prefer – indicate on the booking form
Please comment giving your email address if you would like a booking form (I won’t publish your comment)
Local B&Bs include Bank House Farm http://www.bankhousefarmhostel.co.uk/
Beggars Bridge B&B http://www.beggarsbridge.co.uk/
Red House Farm B&B (and holiday cottages) http://www.redhousefarm.com/
And there are others – leave me a message via the comments if you would like more information or to book (include your email address, I won’t publish it)
Today I have had a lovely day teaching Denise a little bit about enamelling on copper. She brought with her a small enamelled picture of trees by Harry Nicholson that she had bought some time ago and was intrigued by. She began by learning to sift thin layers of enamel onto small pieces of sheet copper, drawing into the layer of powder before firing it in the kiln at 800 degrees centigrade. Initially she used flux and white, using the copper oxides that form where the lines are drawn through the first layer to create patterns. Having established the basis of patterns she then added coloured enamels on some of her pieces. Denise finished with the largest piece where she allowed the view of the dale looking out through my studio window to inspire her and created this wonderful little landscape panel.
I know she enjoyed her day here and I always enjoy seeing how creative people can be within such a short time. I am sure this will be just the beginning of her adventure with enamel!
I have been asked on a few occasions to help couples to make their own wedding rings. Here in my studio near Whitby on the North York Moors I have all the tools and equipment you need and can help you to create your own special and unique rings for each other. On Saturday I spent a lovely day helping Nicole and Jamie make each other a wedding ring in sterling silver.
We began the day with coffee and a discussions about the width, thickness and finish of the rings and then Nicole and Jamie learned how to use a piercing saw to cut their silver strip, working out the required length and cutting and filing it. They annealed it and while the silver strips were in the pickle they had a few attempts at stamping a little star punch into copper sheet – and then onto the silver strips. They annealed and pickled them again before forming the basic ring shapes and soldering the join with silver solder
Here are their lovely rings – I am now going to send them off for hallmarking ready for their big day at the beginning of May. Thanks to them both for a thoroughly enjoyable day and best wishes to them for their future together.
On Saturday 27th April 2013 I will be hosting a wonderful workshop – Landscape into Enamel with Tilly Wilkinson here in my studio on the North York Moors.
It will be £150 per person plus cost of copper available to purchase on the day.
Using a range of enamel techniques produce a landscape based wall panel from your own images.
You will incorporate a range of techniques including sifting, scrafitto and stencilling to produce your own personal response to a landscape that you love. You will learn how to prepare, counter enamel and finish your copper. A range of enamels are included in the price. Copper in various sizes will available to purchase on the day.